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Old 01-16-2022, 03:54 AM   #54
Soldier of Macedon
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Carlin, I have separated some of your responses to address them here collectively. I will get to the rest shortly.
Originally Posted by Carlin View Post
I thought that the first mention of Vlachs is from the 10th century? They started to be mentioned more often/frequently from the 11th. c., but, nevertheless they were "first" mentioned in the 10th c. At least, that's what I think. Almost everywhere I look online they talk about George Kedrenos mentioning Vlachs in specifically 976 AD.

Mea culpa. In my post above, I stated that George Kedrenos mentioned Vlachs in 976. Everywhere I look online it talks about that magical year, 976 AD. But, Kedrenos was specifically an author of around 1050s AD, so he is talking about an event that happened in the "past".
Sometimes, it pays to be cautious before accepting certain content at face value. Take what you wrote above. Wikipedia is supposed to be the place where knowledgeable people converge online to produce accurate and well-rounded articles on all subjects concerning history. However, quite often the content lacks balance and does not correlate with the sources (if reasonable sources are cited at all). That is not to suggest that everything on Wikipedia is dubious, but many of the articles are so poorly written and/or overtly biased that they are downright comical, if not misleading altogether. For instance, the Wikipedia page on the Vlachs states they were “initially identified” by Cedrenus in the 11th century, then, further down, it goes on to remark that Cedrenus was referring to an event that occurred in 976. The fact that Cedrenus copied the work of Scylitzes for that period is omitted. The Wikipedia page for Cedrenus concedes that he used the work of Scylitzes, but claims that Cedrenus wrote his own work “in the 1050s,” without providing a source.

Why is this a problem? Aside from the first page incorrectly attributing the earliest mention of the Vlachs to Cedrenus, the second page makes a statement that it does not corroborate and is out of step with some of the scholars who have studied Scylitzes. The introduction to a translation of Scylitzes’ work suggests the chronicle was almost certainly written towards the end of the 11th century, perhaps even in the 1080s, whereas Cedrenus was writing at the end of the 11th century and beginning of the 12th century (Wortley, 2010. pp. xii, xxxi-xxxii.). Scylitzes wrote about 100 years (if not more) after the event in 976, where he holds the Vlachs responsible for the death of Samuel’s brother. He used several sources to compile his work, but of those that cover the period in which the abovementioned event occurred, none that have survived refer to the Vlachs. They were either mentioned in a source that is lost to us or Scylitzes was applying a bit of anachronism himself. Kekaumenos, perhaps a contender for the earliest reference to the Vlachs, apparently wrote his work in the late 1070s. Whichever one of them completed their respective chronicles earlier, the first people to mention the Vlachs (as far as the records we currently have available) were two contemporaries in the second half of the 11th century. It is difficult not to consider that as more than just a mere coincidence.
Some unrelated/relevant testimonies about "Vlachs".

1) Ibn al-Nadim published in 938 the work Kitab al-Fihrist mentioning "Turks, Bulgars and Vlachs" (using Blagha for Vlachs). [Comment: I'm not sure which specific group(s) of Vlachs this references.]
You must have copied that directly from the Wikipedia page on the Vlachs. Did you notice how that sentence is subtly inserted further down the page and is not presented as the first historical reference to the Vlachs in the introduction, even though it predates Cedrenus (let alone Scylitzes and Kekaumenos)? That should be your first clue that something does not add up. The rest of the clues can be found in the two sources that are cited. Here is the first one, which includes the actual passage from the Arabic to English translation of al-Nadim's work (Dodge, 1970. pp. 36-37 n.82.):
Remarks about the Turks and Those Related to Them

The Turks, the Bulgar, the Blaghā’, the Burghaz, the Khazar, the Llān, and the types with small eyes and extreme blondness have no script, except that the Bulgarians and the Tibetans write with Chinese and Manichaean, whereas the Khazar write Hebrew.82

82 The Bulgars are Bulgarians. The Blaghā’ were the Vlachs or Blakia, the Wallachia of Rumania. Burghaz is a part of Bulgaria, and probably an old tribal name. The Khazar were on both sides of the Itil, or Volga. The Llān or Allān were situated next to Armenia, near the Khazar.
First of all, I am not sure where the editors of the Wikipedia page on the Vlachs got the idea that al-Nadim published his work in 938, when he himself appears to indicate that he completed the first chapter (where the relevant passage is found) in 987. As for the text itself, it refers to people who are related to the Turks. Judging by some of their ethnonyms, they were located in the Caucasus and further north. Some of the insinuations in the footnote, particularly the part relating to the Vlachs, is groundless. Bayard Dodge, the individual who translated the text and provided the footnote, was a scholar of Islam. Neither the Balkans nor Dacia were in his area of expertise. Thus, he can be forgiven for his ignorance. However, the second source does not deserve to get off so lightly. Here it is (Spinei, 2009. p. 83.):
As B. Dodge (the editor and the translator of the scholar of Baghdad) intuited, the ethnonym Blaghā could refer to Wallachians/Romanians. Considering the long distance of the Arab author from the Carpathian-Balkan territories, it is not surprising that their names were slightly distorted.
Victor Spinei is one of Romania’s most eminent historians, a “specialist,” no less. Yet, all he deduced from Dodge’s translation and footnote is that the ethnonym may have been corrupted due to the distance between the “Carpathian-Balkan territories” and Baghdad. That the term “Blaghā” was clearly not in reference to the Wallachians or Romanians (neither of whom had entered historical record at that stage) seems to be of little importance to him. Spinei is supposed to be an esteemed academic, a serious scholar of Romanian history, right? But he chose to manipulate Dodge’s ignorance and use it to his advantage. I have not read the whole body of his work, but in this case, his interpretation is utter rubbish and deceptive to boot. I am not surprised that it has found a home on Wikipedia.
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